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Objective Method for Determining the Most Valuable Player in Major League Baseball

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The sportswriters who select the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Cy Young award winners for Major League Baseball do not use any mandated criteria to make their selections and as a result, many observers feel they do not select the most appropriate players. In this paper, we introduce an objective criterion for selecting the MVP and Cy Young award winners. We extended the Markov Chain model developed by Bukiet et al. (1997) to include more realistic aspects of baseball, improving its authenticity. We used the model to analyze the various candidates for the two awards over a period of 20 years to determine the players whose performance would have added the greatest number of expected wins to an average team and call these players the “objective winners” of the awards. We found that the sportswriters' selections matched the objective criterion just under half the time and that the sportswriters selected one of the top three performers nearly 70% of the time.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-08-01

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